Exeter game too soon for Hughes, says boss Lambert

Midfielder Stephen Hughes is not yet fit to return to the Norwich City side as they prepare to face Exeter City at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm). The Scotland international missed last week's win at Wycombe because of a calf injury he suffered when he had to be substituted during the 2-0 Boxing Day home win over Millwall.

Midfielder Stephen Hughes is not yet fit to return to the Norwich City side as they prepare to face Exeter City at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).

The Scotland international missed last week's win at Wycombe because of a calf injury he suffered when he had to be substituted during the 2-0 Boxing Day home win over Millwall.

"He's doing fine but he's not 100 per cent and I think the weekend will be too early for him," said manager Paul Lambert.

If City's rearranged match at Walsall goes ahead next Tuesday night, that too will be too soon for Hughes.


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Fortunately for Lambert, 18-year-old Korey Smith returned in midfield to score the winner at Adams Park after missing three games with a thigh strain.

Otherwise, City reported no injury problems after a week when training has been disrupted by heavy snow.

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The Canaries are still optimistic that tomorrow's game will go ahead with ground staff fully occupied and the undersoil heating on.

“They're working almost through the night to ensure that we give the game on Saturday every chance of being on. You don't get that at every football club,” said chief executive David McNally.

Exeter, set to travel today, are without two players through suspension - forward Barry Corr and defender Troy Archibald-Henville, who was on loan with Norwich last season without playing a first-team game.

In addition, Ben Watson is ruled out by a calf injury.

Striker Craig McAllister has returned from a one-month loan spell with Barnet intent on forcing his way into Exeter's first team.

The striker featured in five games for the Bees but failed to score during his time at Underhill.

"It is good to be back," he said. "I sat here for three or four months not playing so I knew I had to do something about it.

"So that was partly why I went out on loan. You can look at it in a lot of ways. Maybe in my head I needed to put myself back in the shop window and prove something to myself and to the manager. I want to get myself back in the team."

There should be a place for tough-tackling French midfielder Bertie Cozic, who has another sideline after opening a French-style cafe in Exeter.

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